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U-20 Afcon: Ghana to face Cameroon in quarterfinals despite finishing third

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Ghana has qualified to the quarter-finals of the 2021 Africa U-20 Cup of Nations despite losing their final group game 2-1 against Gambia on Monday night.

The Black Satellites qualify as one of the two best third-placed teams and will face Cameroon in the knockout stage.

Karim Zito’s side started brightly. Abdul Fatawu Issahaku fired the ball brilliantly into the net from about 25 yards in the 9th minute.

Gambia pushed for the equalizer and earned it in the 16th minute. Kajally Drammeh smartly got on the blindside of Ghana’s centre-backs and nodded in a perfectly weighted cross.

After drawing level, Gambia took control of the match and created a number of chances.

In the 34th minute, Lamarana Jallow completed the turnaround with a low-driven free-kick from the edge of the area.

Ghana got close to levelling matters a few minutes later. A good cut back found an open Percious Boah who fired straight at the opposition goalkeeper.

In the latter part of the second half, the Black Satellites pushed forward desperately for a goal.

They were given a lifeline after Camara was sent off in the 83rd minute for time-wasting.

Despite a strong push from Ghana after the incident, Gambia was able to hold on for the victory.

Ghana has secured qualification to the quarterfinals as one of the best third placed teams. Gambia has also qualified in second place.

 

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Magical Messi Fire Barcelona past Elche

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Argentine superstar Lionel Messi brought his A game to fire Barcelona past Elche in the Spanish Laliga Santerder.

The five time Ballon D’Or winner scored twice to help his club return to winning ways. After a boring goalless draw in the first 45 minutes it looks like the Catalan giants were heading for another disastrous result.

Messi stepped up to put his side in front from a Martin Braithwaite assist just minutes into the first half, he doubled his team’s lead with his second of the game before Spanish left back, Jordi Alba put the visitors to the sword.

His two goals means, he is now the leading top scorer in Laliga, 2 more than his former teammate and now Atletico Madrid striker, Luis Suarez.

 

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Ghana’s position in latest FIFA World Rankings revealed

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The Fédération Internationale de Football Association (FIFA) has released its latest World Rankings, the first for the year 2021 and Ghana is in the mix.

Actually, Ghana has maintained its position on the new FIFA World Ranking list sitting at the 52nd position Worldwide and 8th in Africa with 1424 points.

In the first FIFA/Coca-Cola World Ranking of 2021, a total of 43 full internationals (including one played in December 2020) were taken into account.

The standout tournament in recent weeks has been the African Nations Championship (CHAN), where a total of 32 games took place.

These fixtures as well as the other 11 games played have been classified as friendlies because only players competing in the national championships of the participating countries are eligible to take part in the CHAN.

In the standings, CHAN winners Morocco (33rd, + 2), and runners-up Mali (54th, + 3) have made the most progress. Third-placed Guinea (72nd, + 1) and quarter-finalists Congo (90th, + 1) have also advanced.

Other teams moving in the right direction include Costa Rica (50th, + 1), currently back in the Top 50 after an absence of several months, Cape Verde (80th, + 1), Oman (81st, + 1), Benin (82nd, + 1), Azerbaijan (108th, + 1), Estonia (108th, + 1), Thailand (110th, + 1), Guinea-Bissau (119th, + 1), Tajikistan (120th, + 1) and Guatemala (130th, + 1).

Those teams aside, no other country has enhanced its position since December, and the Top 32 places in the standings remain unchanged since the end of 2020. Belgium, France, Brazil, England and Portugal continue to occupy the top spots, with the leading trio of Belgium, France and Brazil only separated by 37 points.

The fight for top spot promises to be an exciting one this year with a string of major tournaments scheduled (Copa America, UEFA EURO and Concacaf Gold Cup) as well as the resumption of qualifying for the FIFA World Cup Qatar 2022™.

The next FIFA/Coca-Cola World Ranking will be published on 8 April 2021.

Source: FIFA

 

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Man United to demand €60 million for Paul Pogba

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Juventus and Real Madrid have reportedly been told to shell out €60 million to sign Paul Pogba from Manchester United in the summer.

That is according to a report by Italian outlet Calciomercato, who claims Manchester United are set to demand €60 million to part ways with Paul Pogba in the summer transfer window. The French midfielder is a target for Real Madrid and former club Juventus. Bookmakers in the likes of gambling360.com have given the Manchester club a 44.4% chance of selling Paul Pogba in the summer with the betting on his future already underway.

Pogba is currently in his second spell with Manchester United, having rejoined the Premier League heavyweights from Juventus in the summer of 2016. Over the past half-a-decade or so, however, he has experienced his fair share of highs and lows, with the outspoken nature of agent Mino Raiola not helping matters either.

During the course of his latest stint with Manchester United, Pogba has amassed 184 appearances, while often being regarded as one of their most important players. However, having openly flirted with the prospect of either joining Real Madrid or making his way back to Juventus, Pogba’s future at Manchester United has constantly been uncertain.

As things stand, Real Madrid and Juventus remain in the hunt for the 27-year-old, who has also been linked with PSG over a possible summer move. And now, an update has emerged in this potential transfer saga, with Manchester United slapping a €60 million price tag on Pogba.

Juventus are reported to be in the market for a midfielder ahead of the summer, with a move for Manuel Locatelli being mooted. However, with Aaron Ramsey’s future being uncertain and with Sami Khedira already being offloaded, another spot could perhaps be open; one that could be filled by Pogba.

Real Madrid, on the other hand, need to lay down the succession plan for Luka Modric, who is in the twilight of his career. To that end, several players have been named as possible replacements, Pogba being one of them. Zinedine Zidane, in particular, is keen on swooping his compatriot away from Manchester United, although Florentino Perez is not as eager.

Nevertheless, it looks like Manchester United have set the asking price for the Frenchman, who has a €60 million price tag. Having said that, Ole Gunnar Solskjaer has suggested that a new deal could be on the cards for Pogba, which could, in turn, kill the chances of a possible exit, or at least bump up his valuation at the very least. It now remains to be seen if Juventus or Real Madrid can quickly seal a move instead.

On the plus side, online slots real money is selling Real Madrid to sign Pogba before September 2 2021 at 11/4, while Paris Saint-Germain is second in line at 5/1. Another spell at Juventus is priced at 11/2 while Barcelona (9/1), Inter Milan (19/1) and Bayern Munich (20/1) are also credited with interest.

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